My directions were on paper and nearly impossible to follow: Turn left when you find the first narrow road through the timber. Once you drop down a steep hill and find a large boulder on the left, turn off onto the next right. The road will soon turn into two narrow tracks.
Shadows deepened as I descended into a narrow mountain valley. Pine and fir trees grew close together, with bough touching bough. Branches wiped against the truck’s windshield as I slipped through the most ancient whorls. Lesser birds hopped along the understory, flicking through occasional columns of full light, never taking to flight.
Look for a fir tree much bigger than all others. You’ll find a grassy opening in the trees there. It’s not a road, but turn in. Follow spaces between trees.
I flashed through a lighted opening in the trees where a swarm of insects swirled upwards into the air. I wheeled the truck though wide spaces as I found them. Finally, I came to a large open swale where stood a single mountain ash tree—elegant and full and brighter than all other trees. Yellow glacier lilies had gathered into a cluster in the shade of the tree.
I stepped from my truck to behold this, understanding for the first time…it is possible for a single tree to be the destination in an endless forest.